Monday, January 7, 2019


Around 1983, maybe 1984, I was standing in a gaming store, as in RPG and wargame store, somewhere in the thumb of Michigan looking at Chaosium's take on Larry Niven's Ringworld. I had read the Ringworld Engineers as a serial in Galileo magazine in '79 or so and was quite taken with the work. I had read the author's other Known Space stories, the setting behind the mega-structure, in a Playboy or Penthouse collection of the S-F works like the year before. I had some money in my pocket and I was starting to dig science fiction role-playing. I had it in my hands and was about to buy it. Then something happened, I bought something else. I think one of my friends was running something and I purchased that product instead to get ready for those sit-downs.

Then the mid-80s would roll into the late 80s and 90s, where I was too busy to buy games but could run and play in games for a couple of months here and there. Deeper into the 90s, I would pick up Niven'snovels The Throne of Ringworld and The Children of Ringworld in the depths of Eastern Europe, Poland and Romania, from train station bookstores' "international" sections spending a bit much for the paperbacks but definitely worth it. Then in '99 I finally read Ringworld itself. Oddly enough, having access to the new world of fantasy fandom on-line, I could never find a substantial community around the works. I did notice that the RPG was going for 200-300$ (US). That said I realized I was still quite the fan. My T&T crowd would tease me for bringing it up in our group, usually citing the author's mention of sex as a turn off to their own tastes, so I'd shut-up about it.

In the Aughts, I bugged old gamer friends that were Chaosium enthusiasts looking for copies of the work-- something I'd rather do than pay some stranger now 350-450$ on Ebay. I actually had been burned buying some materials on E-Bay on book resale sites with books so full of mold and cracking pages, I definitely wouldn't trust the outlets again. Anybody that I knew that had the work would not sell it to me. A couple owed me a bit of money even. I would check for it at Chaosium's site and convention booths. I would look for it at used RPG book sellers at those same conventions. So around the Tweens ('10-'15), somebody would get me an illegal PDF, so at least I could try to read through the work on my Kindle which was wholly inadequate for the task, but I did get through all of it. The resulting headaches were worth it, the material was dry but very detailed. It'd help me cope with the big budget fan fiction that I would read as "prequels" promoted as being co-authored by the now dead Larry Niven and staff writers for the Fleet of Worlds series and whatever the Fate of Worlds was.

So I thought I was done until some TV producer might come along with a Ringworld-derived mini-series or some such. And then Pery posted to me about it being now available at our FLAG store, Weird Realms. Well, it's close to my B-Day, and I just happened to have about 150$ in my wallet yesterday, and the price was less than that. Wallah! I know have a legitimate copy of the work. I can die now.

Knowing my luck, Chaosium will now release the work for PWYW at  DriveThruRPG.

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